Hoodoo Digital — A Culture of Continuous Learning
We have a highly skilled and intelligent team of developers, architects, systems engineers, analysts, and consultants. That doesn't mean that everyone knows everything or that things don’t change over time. Everybody needs refreshers and updates to their skillset. At Hoodoo Digital we recognize this, so we encourage our team members to learn more. Here are some ways we foster a culture of ongoing learning where our employees consistently expand their knowledge and expertise.
Solution Partner Portal and other Adobe Resources
Being an Adobe partner certainly comes with a lot of perks. But the most useful perk for the entire team is access to demos and online training videos in the Solution Partner Portal (SPP). Here our employees can access training and learning material for the entire Adobe Experience Cloud. All of our employees have a SPP account and are encouraged to take advantage of this material to learn more.
The Solution Partner Portal isn’t the only place to get additional knowledge. Adobe also has other resources available that are open to all such as the Experience League where Hoodoo employees can dive deeper still into all things Adobe. Open to everyone, it is a place where our employees can “access a vast library of learning content and courses, get personalized recommendations, and connect with a vibrant community of fellow learners.”
Another great resource is the Adobe Experience League Community. This is a forum where we submit questions that get answered by the community of users and developers (many of whom work for Adobe), and post our own helpful content to allow others to learn.
As you can tell, we’re proud of our partnership with Adobe. One of the reasons is the high standards they require—it takes a constant focus on certification and upskilling. We heavily encourage our employees to get certified in our main areas of expertise (Adobe Experience Manager, Adobe Analytics, Adobe Target, and Adobe Experience Platform) to ensure we are always on top of our game and providing the best possible solutions for our clients. We do this by giving them time to study during work, paying for the exam, and incentivizing valuable certifications. This helps both the company and the employees since the certification stays with them regardless of employment with Hoodoo. And, while Adobe is preeminent, it is not our only area of focus or development. We also work with Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, Kubernetes, Docker, and Workfront, to name just a few, all of which have their own independent certifications that we encourage our employees to pursue.
Third-Party Training Sites
We also recommend employees use third-party training sites, such as Pluralsight and others, to deepen their understanding of the software we support. As a matter of fact, one of our senior architects, Tyler Maynard, is one of the prolific providers of independent AEM training content within Pluralsight. When employees are less busy, they know that taking in some training is a great way to use their time.
Tech Channels for Collaboration
Like many other tech companies, Hoodoo uses Slack internally for our teams as well as project-specific channels for customer communication. We also use Slack as a learning and collaboration tool with our Tech-Tips channel. This creates a space for individual developers to bring a problem or issue forward and get assistance from the larger Hoodoo team. This Tech-Tips channel allows us to reach out and gain the experience of the entire group and provides a searchable repository for past answers. Another great channel our people join is the independent AEM Tech Slack. These channels allow for open conversations with many disciplines where everyone can solve issues or collaborate on best practices.
Learn by Doing
At Hoodoo, we have the advantage of working with clients in many industries, with unique needs. Our seasoned developers have gained a wealth of knowledge by simply providing solutions for our clients--you just can’t beat learning by doing. We understand how valuable this knowledge is and pair our newer developers with skilled and experienced architects or senior developers to guide them and expose them to things that can only be learned on the job. Our new developers’ work is reviewed and discussed before it is ever released or made part of the project. It’s in these controlled situations and group settings where they learn the fundamental things that you can’t learn just reading documentation. They are exposed to scenarios that just can’t be taught. It has to be experienced.
One-On-One Reviews with Directors
Like most companies, the way our teams are organized is that there is a director over a group of people that do a similar kind of work. This allows our directors to be able to understand the needs and stresses that their people go through. They can relate. They hold, at a minimum, monthly meetings with each of their staff members where they discuss project work, personal life, career/growth goals, technical issues, certifications, and demonstrating aspects of the tools we work with.
Innovation Bounty System
Providing ample ways to learn and upskill is good, but we also have to focus on the outcomes we hope to achieve with such a highly skilled team. A big part of the reason we so strongly emphasize learning, is that we strive to be at the forefront of martech innovation. How do we encourage this at Hoodoo? While we have a core set of work we usually do, we want to keep ourselves open to lots of new ideas, not originally thought of by company leadership. It works like this: If an employee wants to explore something new, or they see a trend that could lead to opportunities down the road, we incentivize them to work on it. Our incentive program is flexible. For example, it can take the form of an agreed-upon bonus or even be time carved out of their regular work schedule to pursue their idea. Whatever the agreement—Hoodoo wants to foster opportunities to explore and create. These bounties increase employee focus on our strategic initiatives and values, as well as foster collaboration among our employees.
At Hoodoo we encourage employees to learn more and expand their capacity. We never want stagnation. Everyone should continue to learn and grow. This can be uncomfortable and difficult but it pays out many dividends down the line for both our company and the individual. Are you looking to work for a company that encourages and incentivizes their employees to continue to learn and expand their capabilities?
We do. We’re Hoodoo.